Meeting New Yorkers’ Needs with Bus Rapid Transit

More than half of all New Yorkers use public transit to get to work, and buses play an important role in the transportation system. The bus network alone carries nearly three million riders daily, making it the largest system of its kind in North America. For areas of the city without subway access, buses provide an important transportation option.

Unfortunately, NYC has some of the slowest bus speeds in the country; some buses in Midtown travel about five miles per hour. Limited transportation options mean that the commutes for three-quarters of a million commuters take more than an hour in each direction.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) provides a solution by reducing travel times and providing transportation in areas where people desperately need it. Bus Rapid Transit makes bus trips faster, more reliable and more convenient. To maximize the benefits of BRT, NYC’s network should have:
  • Dedicated bus lanes located in the center of roads
  • Priority traffic signals and prohibited turning of other vehicles
  • Stations where riders can: pay ahead of time, board through multiple
  • doors, board on level with the platform, and see real-time schedule information
The MTA’s current Select Bus Service is a step in the right direction. The current SBS lines have greatly improved reliability and travel times along important corridors, but they lack crucial elements of a high performing bus system.

To improve the situation, Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to create a Bus Rapid Transit network with 20 new lines, so underserved neighborhoods can be connected to emerging transportation and employment hubs. To make Select Bus Service work effectively, Transportation Alternatives is fighting for Complete Street redesigns of key corridors to include camera-enforced bus lanes, along with protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and pedestrian safety islands.

Take Action:

Tell your elected official that you support Mayor de Blasio’s vision of a citywide Bus Rapid Transit network that provides connections between other buses, bike share, and the subway.